Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh There's No Place like Home for the Holidays

There are four days until Thanksgiving. While I love Thanksgiving, good food, warmth and family, it's completely separate from Christmas. I'm not diminishing the importance and joy of Thanksgiving, but it's got nothing on Christmas. There are four days till Thanksgiving and 24 days until I fly home to Portland. I love my friends at RPI, and I normally feel a little sad about departing for breaks, but hell, I need a trip home.

Christmas is a time of joy, giving, love and family. While Thanksgiving is also a gathering of loved ones, the holiday has been a bit undervalued for me since I do not go home. I love my family and enjoy the holiday with my aunt and uncle, but one of the reasons I go to Jersey for Thanksgiving is because I do not enjoy holiday traffic and spending around $500 for three days. With this absence of my immediate family, there may have been added weight and importance to my voyage home for winter break, even though there is possibly already an overinflated attachment to it.

I love my friends here at school, but I believe that I love going home so much for the holidays for a similar reason that I love the East Coast. There is an oldness associated with both things. The East Coast exudes a past, an aging, a history. In Portland there is my immediate family and friends that I have known for many years. While not the closest of companions for the entire time, I have known my best friend Patrick for seven years now, and my oldest dearest friend Angelina for 15 years. There is a different set of jokes, values, and sense of things with friends of old. There is a comfort of familiarity that I cannot fully explain. It is a warmth in my heart much like the snuggling against a favorite blanket, or leaning on your father's shoulder watching television together.

My Dad and I have not always had the best relationship due to a complicated intertwining of being too similar and too different at the same time. I am much more outgoing, he is much more business, and we are both too proud and stubborn for our own goods. Despite our disputes, there are certain things in my life that I hold dear because they always can transport me back to being a little girl loving my dad with unwavering adoration as he assembles my doll house for Christmas. My Dad loves Christmas. If he doesn't and I've just been wandering around with a veil over my eyes for the last 21 years, then he's doing a pretty good job of fooling me and I still love him for that.

That is family. Family is the little traditions like going Christmas shopping for Mom downtown. Family is putting up with stubborn stupidity. Family is there whether you like it or not, to be yelling in your face when you need it, to make the world a better place, and to listen even when you are crying your eyes out but they still think it isn't worth it. Family is the warmth you feel sharing the throw on the couch as you watch It's A Wonderful Life together every year. Family is love. In a nutshell, that is the core of why I become such a Christmas freak. I enjoy ever single precious moment of joy in life, and there is nothing greater that the love felt during the holidays. Spread a little love, share a little warmth, and join in if you hear me singing carols to myself as I walk around campus.

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